On August 6, 2018, Tesla CEO Elon Musk sat down for a chat with comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan, whose marathon-length interviews tend to veer off in unexpected directions. Musk and Rogan hit the ground running and touched on a lot of topics, ranging from whether or not humans are living in a computer simulation to how the CEO spends most of his time. Toward the end of the interview, Musk did something CEOs don't usually do in public: he smoked pot on camera.
Because of the blunt seen 'round the world, the interview immediately went viral, and along with it some of Musk’s most out there quotes. Out of context, some of what Musk said sounds odd, but most of the answers were thoughtful even when he was talking about alternate realities and flying cars.
Rogan shied away from asking Musk about his family or other personal issues. But even without diving into any of that drama, there’s still a lot of information to go through. These are the most interesting and far-out quotes from the interview, but the entire thing is well worth your time.
Musk Thinks It's Too Late To Regulate AI
Musk admitted that artificial intelligence is one of his main worries about the future, but lately he's been taking a "fatalistic attitude" towards the subject. Not because he thinks something awful is going to happen, but because there's nothing he can do about it. He told Rogan, "It's not necessarily bad, it's just... it's definitely going to be outside of human control."
Musk's biggest worry about AI is how it's used by humans. He said, "The thing that's going to be tricky here is that it's going to be very tempting to use AI as a weapon... so the on ramp to serious AI, the danger to it is humans using it against each other." Musk explained that normal means of regulation, which can take years, won't work with AI because it changes too quickly.
The discussion then veered into whether or not humans will be able to download themselves into a computer. When things got "too freaky" at the 30-minute mark, Rogan punctuated the conversation by bringing out a bottle of whiskey.
Musk Reveals Tesla Cars Can Do Ballet
One of the strangest moments in the interview took place when Rogan said, "I know you're into weapons," then brought out a 15th-century samurai sword. Rogan handed it over and said that one day people will look at Teslas they way they were looking at the sword.
Musk noted that people should see what a Tesla-X can really do. He said that while any car can be irresponsible and drive super fast, the Model-X "can do this ballet thing to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra." When Rogan asked why Musk would program a car to do that, he answered, "It seemed like fun."
Musk Isn't Crazy About Instagram
Most of Musk's ire is directed at social media sites like Instagram for allowing people to create a fictional reality for themselves where it looks like they're happy all the time. He believes the app is doing more harm than good in the long run for our self-esteem. At 38:45, he told Rogan that on Instagram:
People look like they have a much better life than they really do. People are posting pictures of when they're really happy. They're modifying the pictures to be better looking. So, they basically seem like they're way better looking than they really are, or way happier seeming than they really are.
He put a button on that thought with, "Those people who you think are super happy actually, they're not that happy."
Musk Believes In The Multiverse, Sort Of
At 48 minutes into their conversation, Rogan asked Musk if he believes in the multiverse, an infinite number of universes stuck in a "never-ending cycle of birth and death." Musk thought about this for a moment before agreeing with the concept, but added his own caveat: "I think most likely there are many, many simulations. These simulations, we might as well call them reality."
He went on to say that whatever's running the simulation is probably boring, because actual simulations are based on what people think is exciting about boring life.
Musk then cut through the dense topic by comparing a simulation to the filming of an action movie. He said that if you watch the filming of an action movie you'd be bored, but watching the actual action movie is super exciting.